1,512 thoughts on “General Discussion – 2

  1. Pandas are ‘cutesy and capture the paying publics attention, Clark.

    Admittedly China fully exploited that emotion and probably garnered the attention other species did not receive.

    The point I am making is human short sightedness precludes the highly likely proposition that humans don’t really know what they are doing.

  2. Squonk, thanks for posting those links – the SN5 hop was the next thing I intended catching up on today; your links will save me from having to search for it 😀

  3. Ben, you beat me to it. Yeah, publicity probably drove the failed approach. Rather, entire habitats should be protected, and then the inhabitants will look after themselves.

  4. Aww, Squonk, that was beautiful. Just look at the clarity of that flame, and its instantaneous directional adjustments.

    Yes!!! Mars, here we come!

  5. Node, August 4, 10:21 am:

    “What I’ve just described is medical policy being led by the media on behalf of big pharma. […] It shows that despite achieving promising results, tests of hydroxychloroquine were ended through fraudulent means before their effectiveness or otherwise could be established.”

    In fact: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxychloroquine#Timeline

    “On 3 June 2020, the WHO announced it would resume its global trial of hydroxychloroquine, after its data safety monitoring committee found there was no increased risk of death for COVID‑19 patients taking it.”

    Node, August 4, 6:55 pm:

    “I already know what happens next. We’ll pay billions to use Remdesivir instead…”

    In fact, Node doesn’t even know what’s happened already.

  6. “Entire habitats should be protected..”

    Including invasive species? Did you read how the unbalanced ecosystem affected indigenous groups?

    Again….we don’t know what we’re doing and until we do..leave well enough alone.

  7. Yeah, but we weren’t leaving well alone; we were trashing the habitat. From the excerpt I posted:

    “…commercial logging, direct poaching of both the carnivores and their ungulate prey, and possible infection and spread of contagious diseases via domestic animals.”

    Ben – “Did you read how the unbalanced ecosystem affected indigenous groups?”

    No, I haven’t read that bit; post an excerpt. But it sounds familiar; the indigenous groups usually know how to respect their environment, and it’s invasive, intensive pursuit of profit that drives degradation.

  8. Until humans can accurately predict the ramifications of their blundering through the World with nothing better than well intentioned intervention, they should stfu.

  9. Node, thanks.

    Covid-19 treatment trials comprise an extensive and fast-developing field in its own right, and I am aware that my own familiarity with it is rudimentary at best. Three pharmaceuticals seem to to be mentioned most frequently: hydroxychloroquine / chloroquine, remdesivir, and dexamethasone. Here are my impressions, and I stress, merely impressions; treatment assessment is not my job nor something I have looked into in depth beyond Ben Goldacre’s two books.

    (Hydroxy)chloroquine seems to be being promoted, sometimes as a magic bullet, by a tiny but vocal faction, mostly among the US Right. However, it also seems to be being falsely undermined by a small but very dodgy US outfit called Surgisphere – Surgisphere produced the paper that was disowned by the Lancet. Other trial results seem marginal / mixed.

    Remdesivir results also seem marginal / mixed.

    – The above two points seem the focus of a politicised battle in the US, the US medical authorities acting against (hydroxy)chloroquine and in favour of remdesivir, in the absence of strong, reliable evidence either way.

    (Hydroxy)chloroquine have other well-established uses, but sudden demand sparked by publicity from the politicised battle has caused a worldwide shortage.

    Dexamethasone does seem to have some reasonable evidence, but gets mentioned less, and hasn’t (yet?) been embroiled in the politicised contest mentioned above.

  10. A while ago I asked if anyone here can ride bicycles or motorcycles, and only got one reply so I’ll try it the other way; who here can’t ride a cycle?

  11. Here’s an interesting compilation from cameras aboard the solid rocket boosters (SRBs) of two Shuttle flights; 400 seconds from lift-off to slash-down. It always amazes me how rapidly the velocity increases. Post separation, subject to nearly identical forces, the other booster remains almost parallel, the background whirling around both. And I love the sound; so eerie.

    Riding the Booster with enhanced sound:


  12. The death of former NSA Brent Scowcroft should bring a halt accolades about former deceased public servants.

    He was instrumental in getting POTUS Gerald Ford to pardon Tricky Dick, putting a seal on his murderous deeds which changed the country forever.

    And getting G W to make 9/11 a war on terrorism.

  13. Trowbridge: But Scowcroft was so helpful after he could do nothing but salvage his eternal damnation..

    Doesn’t he deserve some credit for repentance…you know….like salvaging his soul?

  14. Bill Barr is even wurst than Scowcraft or Goebbels for that matter.

    His perfidy on Nixonian grift and Iran/Contra criminality is more than crime.

    It’s Capitalism at its finest hour

  15. Sorry for the thought chains as comments.

    I find things hard to digest unless I do so in bits and bytes

  16. continuing on the human debacle-chain…

    We’ve seen the wurst of human instincts but as the Sage once said ‘the Road to Life is narrow but the Death Road is wide’ (paraphrasing)

    The point…as I’m not a literalist without a sense of metaphor, is to painfully point out that there are far more folks who predominate self-interest than those who see the collective benefit of cooperation.

    We see that so clearly in the controversy of wearing masks.

    The sad reality of that lemming-level intelligence is our Doom if they prevail, as I predict they will , is virtually assured.

    WWI and WWII proven by current events, shows the Prussian mind will always prevail.

    Ask William Wallace.

  17. “there are far more folks who predominate self-interest than those who see the collective benefit of cooperation”

    I’ve seen that increase in my lifetime.

    It’s only to be expected. Organisms adapt to the environment, and the political environment has been moving to the Right for decades.

    That shift itself is also to be expected. Whichever organisations gain dominance also gain the power to promote their ideology, which influences voters. And so the feedback loop is closed; governments favouring capital, which controls media, influencing voters, electing the government. The people become more selfish because they have to, or they’ll go under, and that adds to the same dynamic. Plus there are short-circuits like this:


    Two things follow from this:

    1) There is no point complaining about “bad men” in power, be it Nixon or Trump. The system itself is fundamentally dysfunctional.

    2) Oppression and exploitation will increase until enough people realise, and are uncomfortable enough to rise up and change the system.

    People talk of the “political pendulum”, but that’s a minor, decade-scale matter. The more important, century-scale dynamic has the shape of the teeth on a saw; gradual increase in oppression followed by sudden rebellion.

  18. The truth is that, to many people calling themselves Socialists, revolution does not mean a movement of the masses with which they hope to associate themselves; it means a set of reforms which ‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to regard the book-trained Socialist as a bloodless creature entirely incapable of emotion. Though seldom giving much evidence of affection for the exploited, he is perfectly capable of displaying hatred—a sort of queer, theoretical, in vacuo hatred—against the exploiters.

    George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier.

  19. Fred, I agree; it’s a major problem. That sort of “socialism” is the sort that the toxic system will cooperate with. We saw that with Blair’s lot; promoted by the corporate “news” media, ~3000 new laws, secret courts, massive expansion of private “security”, mandatory ongoing “professional education” and recertification that could only be bought, and perpetual war for resources.

    Corbyn’s support came from the people upwards, and there’s genuine compassion and concern in XR – though there’s also much naivety in XR, the attitude is embodied in the Core Principles:

    8. We avoid blaming and shaming – We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.

    6. We welcome everyone and every part of everyone – Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.

    4. We openly challenge ourselves and our toxic system – Leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.

    10. We are based on autonomy and decentralisation – We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power.

  20. “…it means a set of reforms which ‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders.”

    The reason it’s such a pervasive problem is what Freud described as our id-ego systems, which give everyone the feeling that they’re superior to everyone else.

    Maybe Ben is right; it’s destiny and cannot be changed. But I don’t find that an adequate reason not to try.

  21. See no mention of Scowcroft overruling Al ‘Deep Throat’ Haig in giving Nixon a pardon, but I was wrong in saying that he favored the Second Gulf War as G. W.’s NSA when he favored the First Gulf War as G. H. W. Bush’s NSA.

  22. Clark: I’m afraid the ‘system” was created by and is functioning not through some nefarious entity of mysterious origins, but is totally owned by People. The ‘man behind the curtain’ in our city of Oz is busy with levers and switches.

    As I’ve said even if Lot could have found one good man in the doomed City of Sodom and became a benevolent dictator, he would need to become vindictive in his rule in order to keep order amongst the disorderly masses.

  23. And when I say ‘men’ I mean it in the all-inclusive sense because women with power behave like men. I am nothing if not egalitarian. 🙂

  24. Ben, the system is owned by capital; it’s even openly named capitalism. The ‘man behind the curtain’ is capital. If it wasn’t the current bunch of people it would be another, because people are corruptible in predictable ways.

    Yes, one good man, attempting benevolence in dictatorship, can never do it, for precisely the reason you state. But the ‘disorderly masses’ can become orderly, by participating in governance and thereby learning how to generate order – by setting out to order the others, they learn to order themselves, so the more widespread the participation, the better it works. Example: Switzerland. “With power comes responsibility” cuts multiple ways; empowered people learn to be more responsible.

  25. “We choose to go to the Moon. We choose to go to the Moon, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”

  26. Money as defined as exchanged goods or dollars or shekels or Quid is not the decision maker.

    People decide…not concepts or ideology or sense of purpose Clark.

    Can’t you see how you can free yourself from intransigence by simply accepting the fact that you can relax and enjoy the ride without guilt, remorse or regret?

    Take a load off yourself. You deserve it

  27. Ha! Not for me, Ben. No, there are only so many aspects of this ride that I will permit myself to enjoy. Only those that are given freely.

    Capitalism directs people like a body directs the cells of which it is comprised, or like a colony of social insects directs the seeming individuals. The cells forego their biological immortality for a more comfortable life, just as people forego their freedom and divest themselves of responsibility.

    But many organisational structures are possible. The current one needs changing radically, for it is collided head on with natural law.

  28. ” We have left the 10,000-year climate “safe zone” that gave rise to human civilization”


    “Answer two says that sure, intelligence may be as common as sand, but holding onto a technological civilization isn’t just hard, it’s essentially impossible. There are very good reasons to believe this is the correct answer.

    – It’s not just that since 1970, we’ve managed to kill off 60 percent of Earth’s animal life (yes, with caveats). It’s not just that humans and the things we eat now account for 96 percent of all the biomass on the planet—meaning that every Blue Whale, Mountain Gorilla, and African Elephant is left to squeeze into that last 4 percent. It’s not even that we’ve now driven our planet straight out of the climate zone where it has existed since our civilization originated. Although … yes, it could be any of those things. It may be that every intelligent civilization is simply not intelligent enough to not utterly foul its own nest.”


  29. Why, Ben, because he was ‘Deep Throat’. Woodward and Bernstein used the same source in the Nixon administration, not FBI Assistant Director Mark Felt, to print his claims. And they did not consider Haig one of The President’s Men. Years later they got looney Felt to confess he was he, Some journalism!

    And I made a big mistake in saying that Scowcroft was G. W’s NSA. At least he drew the line on not investigating NIxon, not making new enemies, like after 9/11.

  30. Glenn, my position on the Beirut explosion is that it was an Israeli missile with a pocket nuke on board.

    There is so much covert war going on with ships catching fire, others disappearing, and floods threatening dams bursting that it is impossible to keep up with the surprises.

  31. And don’t rule out drones infected with the virus poisoning Iranian, American and British waters.

  32. Clark: Further to your point about bicycles, I have to add that since leaving NL the amount of cycling I do has reduced by about 95%. The roads here are absolutely crap, car drivers inconsiderate at best, and positively aggressive quite often. Provisions for cycles are the worst in Europe, in my experience – at least, in the more developed regions.

    I don’t regard myself as a wuss when it comes to cycling, but I find sharing road space with heavy traffic that displays wanton indifference the the lives of the most vulnerable road users, to be an intolerable risk. Running a good risk of becoming paralysed or dead for the sake of riding a bike is a questionable payoff.

    At least on a motorbike you don’t get continually overtaken by drivers who face little penalty should they end your life due to their lack of care and impatience.

  33. Given what has happened and threatened in Iran, Lebanon and Palestine in terms of explosions, fires and cyber attacks, it is hard not to conclude the right-wing government in Israel is in the process of remaking the map in the Middle East.

  34. Jesus, you guys should be in Sturgis, South Dakota. Just because you are depressed, that’s no reason to make the rest of us so.

    In Beirut, a missile expert has claimed that a missile depot, not ammonium nitrate, was destroyed there apparently by the Israelis, the current Nazis.

  35. I love riding bicycles. I’m lucky here that there are alternative routes into town, some of which have even been tarmacked as cycle paths. Once in town it’s a different matter; most “cycle routes” are no more than a line of white paint down the leftmost half metre of a busy road – apparently these protect me from the gleaming black windowed 4-by-4s throbbing from the Verdi muffled within. Rumour has it that the council had these lines painted because it was the cheapest way of getting EU money for cycle facilities, which sounds convincing to me.

    The dominance of private cars is intolerable. It is insanity that the logic of capitalism is that the entire world has to become like this, as quickly as logistically possible, and then we can throw them all away and replace them with electric ones. Obviously they’re a nightmare for pedestrians and cyclists, but they’re a pain in the arse for anyone in a van or a goods vehicle too ‘cos they just stuff up the entire road. And they’re hideously noisy and they stink.

    Grief, the air’s like soup today.

  36. Putin claims that Russia has developed a successful vaccine for the virus.

    Has the US or other countries even reported the claim generally not, much less offered claims to purchase it? No, just bitter skepticism – it’s a lie, hasn’t been properly tested, Russia is still trying to steal information about Western efforts to find a cure, just endless Russophobia.

    Putin will have to make good on his claim or receive deserved rejection.

    No wonder the world is such a crap hole!

  37. “Putin claims that Russia has developed a successful vaccine for the virus.”

    Ha! So what are the odds that now we’re suddenly told that a vaccine wasn’t really what we’re all waiting for after all…

  38. I am just interested in the alleged news, not the odds of something at some Las Vegas gambling table.

    Has anyone ever heard of G W’s first National Security Advisor, Roland Lehman? I hadn’t until I learned that I was mistaken to say that Brent Scowcroft was he.

  39. So what were the odds of the feds allowing OJ Simpson out of prison, and being allowed to live at Vegas?

    I’m sure they were good, but Stephen Paddock didn’t take them, preferring to massacre 50 people at a music festive there.

  40. Seems the Secret Service is getting trigger happy these days, given its record of protecting only 8 out of 12 Presidents from assassination since WWII. JfK was surely dead, and Reagan was never fit for the job after John Hinckley, Jr., almost killed him in 1981, only a 67% record.

    Yesterday the SS shot an unstable person outside the White House compound when he assumed a position without his weapon drawn to apparently shoot Trump.

    Of course there is no public discussion of the incident. The SS is above scrutiny.

  41. Looks like Joe Biden will select Susan Rice to be his Vice Presidential running mate as Mike Harris of Veterans Today is asking why was John P. Wheeler III murderred and why.

    I have already discussed many aspects of Biden’s involvement, making quakes in North Korea and claiming they are nuclear tests, Wheeeler dealing independently with Ali-Resa Pahlavi to settle problems with Iran’s leaders, and most importantly setting up FBI agent Steve Ivens as a Russian assassin of President Obama on a campaign junket to make sure that he stays on the 2012 Democratic ticket.

  42. I was wrong as Biden selected Kamala Harris.

    Started thinking that Mike Harris, apparently of Fresno, was clearing the field for her. Are they related?

    Makes it easier for me voting for Biden, as he will regret his choice from this day.

    Think that Biden won’t even last for four years.

  43. Steering a cycle: Above a certain speed, with counter-steer. You apply force forward to the handlebar on the side of the direction you wish to turn, as if you were trying to turn the handbar in the opposite direction. You might also shift your weight into the turn (and stop peddling if it’s particularly tight – leaving the peddle on the inside of the turn away from the bottom position).

    On a motorbike, you would also put more weight on the footrest on the inside of the bend, move your head and shoulders as if you were trying to get your nose to the mirror, and possibly stick the knee out to get it on the ground.

  44. Can you believe that media giant Google is policing the web to help posters think about current government, especially Washington.

    It has called web site Veterans Today a pro-Kremlin, anti-Semitic, conspiracy-minded, fake news blog. The site is run by a former Marine officer, posts articles dealing with all kinds of veteran problems, and is populated by all kinds of veterans.

    To lump all these concerns as essentially unpatriotic is most uncalled for. I find this particularly offensive since I have posted 31 articles there which deal with a wide assortment of matters, particularly American plots like the assassinations of the 1960s and Iran-Contra. What’s more telling is that my wife was Jewish, and I volunteered to serve during the Korean War.

    Looks like my telling that JFK was killed to look like veteran LHO did it for the Soviets and Cubans but was prevented by mistakes and surprises, and John Lehman, Jr., Oliver North et al. murdered Olof Palme to trigger WWIII to get rid of the leading communists but were stopped by similar oversights are not welcome in our so-called free discussion democracy.

  45. How about the video posted out of context by Dawn Butler which seemed to show her being stopped by police in London?

  46. Kamala Harris’s friendship with Joe Biden’s deceased son Beau didn’t pave the way for her becoming his running mate. It was cemented when they both covered up murders as the Attorney General of their respected states, she for California and he for Delaware.

    The murders were those of John P. Wheeler and the heir to the Iranian throne Ali-Resa Pahlavi,and those in California of Steve Ivens, Peter Adler and those on the testing Suhkov 100 plane crashed in Indonesia.

    I had no idea of her career until recently. The two Attorney Generals were covering up for the covert government, Beau for his father apparently, and she for the POTUS Obama et al. in Hollywood.

    It’s the biggest conspiracy I have ever seen. How it will end up is anyone’s guess.

  47. “Ha! So what are the odds that now we’re suddenly told that a vaccine wasn’t really what we’re all waiting for after all…”

    WHAT’S your major malfunction on Russia Clark ?

    Can you extricate yourself from Putin or is your allegiance to Craig Murray overarching the Leftist syndrome no longer applicable for the sake of consistent leftism the point?

  48. You know what? If Squonk can’t explain Craig’s perfidious failure to reign in Craig Murray love of Russia he should fucking close down this blog for his own opinion .
    ..he should

  49. I am fucking tired of learning more and more dirty tricks, especially by Washington. Now we are being forced to legitimize the covert government that Obama carried on. Biden, Harris et al.are just scum who killed opponents and leakers, and covered it up just to enhance their advancement.

  50. See that Google has taken down its characterization of Veterans Today as pro-Kremlin, anti-Semitic etc. under my name, and good it did as I was looking into suing it for a pile of money.

    Received a Certification of Appreciation from Morris Dees, a founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which was the source of what Google ciited about VT for its claim was anti=Semitic.

    Dees added: “The name shown above will be added to the Wall of Tolerance in Montgomery, Alabama, to provide inspiration to all those who choose to take a stand against hatred.

    Thank you for taking a stand.”

    Possibly this is why Dees has had such a bitter dispute within the organization.

    For good measure in citing some of the articles under my full name, Google had a note about VA leader GordonDuff proving that Israeli F-16s dropped a pocket nuke on Beirut.

    Sometime the web can achieve wonders.

  51. Can anything be more absurd than the media inventing causes for Biden selecting Kamala Harris as his running mate, like Fritz Mondale choosing Geraldine Fararro as his in 1984 to run against an impaired Reagan caused by an assassination attempt, when Harris, former California Attorney General at the time, made it quite clear that it happened because she knew and worked quite closely with Beau Biden, Delaware’s then Attorney General, to help cover up the murders of John P. Wheeler, III et al., and he reciprocated a year later in her covering up the murders of Steve Ivens et al.which Joe acknowledged by considering her one of his family?

    The media is too busy these days in making news rather than just reporting it.

  52. Good to celebrate V-J Day as it allowed me to know my father better, and gave him a chance to explain how the War Department and the Pentagon had so badly they had treated him. Thanks to Truman honoring the commitment to atom bomb Japan instead of the USSR as his rabid anti-communist critics wanted, it rendered my father’s division to lead a deadly assault on Japan a dead letter.

    Instead of the Army authorities honoring him properly, it tried to get him to retire in his forties, but he stayed on because he somehow still liked the Army. After he was still was in his late fifties, and had earned a French Legion d’Honeur, it forced him to go, what only 9 Americans had received in 150 chaotic years.

    In his retirement , he got round to writing a partial indictment of its treatment of him in Wagon Soldier which I hope to see exploited in the renaming of Fort Rucker.

  53. The USA still warring on how to deal with the coronavirus, isn’t it time to deal with the conspiracy theory that it is one country, breaking it up to around five parts, like New England, the Confederacy South, the Rust Belt, the Plains, and the West Coast with a provision in the separation that persons who didn’t like where they ended up could move?

  54. Ben, while I don’t know what Clark was referring to, I know that you are wrong about Craig Murray having a love affair with Putin, as he opposed the independence vote in Crimea when two/thirds of its residents approved it which would have been away more than enough for the Scottish independence vote. Then Craig opposed Russian policing the Kerch strait to the peninsula which Moscow delayed falling to the Nazis long enough for the Soviets vastly improving the Allies chances of winning WWII.

    I have stopped using his site because mainly of its Russophobia.

  55. If you watched the American football game in Kansas City, Missouri, you would think it was last year before the pandemic, as apparently no one was wearing a mask though they have to in order to gain entrance.

    Apparently, they all took them off afterwards, leaving about 100,000 people spreading the virus on the way home. Expect the poor performance in Missouri and Kansas to only get worse in dealing with the virus.

    Only death beats football there.

  56. Glenn, thanks for your response; it’s a shame no one else had a go because I was sure you’d know the answer.

    Very, very few cyclists know that they steer by applying torque to the bars the “wrong” way; almost everyone would claim that to steer, say, left, they twist the bars “to the left”, ie. anticlockwise. I posted my question as an illustration of counter-intuitiveness, and failure of conventional wisdom.

    The handlebars of a briskly moving cycle display the intriguing phenomena of negative resistance; applying clockwise torque results in anticlockwise rotation. The bars actually push back on one’s hands with more force than that applied; the reaction is indeed opposite, but greater than the causative action.

    Reality is subtle, and even simple systems can have surprisingly complex behaviours.

  57. Steering a cycle also illustrates that our body can know a thing correctly even though our conscious mind is completely wrong about it.

  58. What did Barack Obama, former POTUS, have in mind when he allegedly said not to underestimate Vice President Joe Biden’s ability “to fuck up”?

    Was he thinking about John P. Wheeler’s body falling out the dumpster on its way to the Wilmington landfill, or allowing FBI agent Steve Ivens to go missing for two months after he had been set up as Obama’s Russian assassin?

    The Obamas made no such mistake in taking advantage of the legal loopholes to build a multi-million dollar mansion on Hawaii’s allegedly protected coast line.

    They are the world’s most protected couple.

  59. Republicans are conducting a better campaign than Democrats who just keep harping on about Biden without raising any questions about him. Trump has cut the Biden lead just to 4% now, enough votes to win the Electoral College as he doesn’t waste as many as the Democrats do.

    The Chiefs-Ravens game was played last year. We will see how the fans behave when they play next month.

  60. Bill Stevenson’s book set to be published is a bugger indictment of Joe Biden being a big liar, sinner, and unethical person than Trump.

    Biden stole Bill’s wife Jill, and committed adultery with her, makes him look like a covert operator I am complaining about.

    Remember Biden contends he is a devout Catholic, following Pope Francis around Washington as if he was part of his security detail, took up with Jill when she was still married to Bill, contrary to its Catechism and Eucharist , and lied about it to give himself an alibi for meeting her.

    I am no Catholic and follow no religion but I cannot stomach such behavior, neither can millions of people.

  61. Did Trump arrange the Democrat visual convention? I cannot imagine a bigger fiasco!

    Instead of having four GOP former office holders back Biden, and Democrats supporting him no higher than Michelle Obama who was never elected to any office is just stupid. Where were Biden, former POTUS Obama, and Kamala Harris?

    Trump stole the show by promising that he would pardon someone “very, very big today?” Is it Julian Assange?

    Whatever, I am not voting for any of them.

  62. Hey Ben, us science and engineering types are so myopic; we just never consider anything beyond the mundane, eh?


    δ = 4.669,201,609,102,990,671,853,203,820,466…

    Our world is interconnected in ways we would never guess without the universal language of quantity and relationship, namely mathematics.

  63. I would be too, but it isn’t he. It’s Susan B. Anthony who has been honored twice with postage stamps. by FDR with a three-cent one, the cost for a first class letter, and by Ike with a $.50 one for her meeting Teddy 50 years earlier.

    A Trump pardon now is worthless, like most of his efforts.

    – – – – – – – – – –
    Posted by Clark under surrogate credentials!

    Hey Trowbridge, you posted this on the ‘Contact Squonk’ thread, so I took the liberty of reposting it here under your name.

  64. So a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee establishes in a 1,000-page report what should have happened months ago since Trump committed perjury many times to Special investigator Robert Mueller so he could be removed from office, but still too few words about committing collusion which he and some of his closest advisors committed by calling for Putin finding in her and DNC emails materials so they could “lock her up.”

    We are really stuck with something worse than a banana republic!

  65. Here’s a study which might be of interest:


    It’s about sampling air from a Covid-19 ward, where 14 feet away from patients (who were not talking/ singing/ exercising heavily) it was possible to capture coronavirus samples in sufficient quantity to infect cells in a lab. The air was completely exchanged three times an hour, and subjected to UV irradiation.

    Of course, denialists will insist that this is all hoax/ lies/ nonsense because they’re so clever. But on planet Earth, this has grave implications about the transmittability of C-19 indoors. Kindly note that conspiracy-nut denialists are not welcome to this discussion.

  66. Glenn, this is consistent with what I have long suspected; most cross-infection occurs indoors, where there is far less air movement and the virus particles are contained in high concentration.

    The “only one hour exercise” and “no sunbathing” orders were always counterproductive. Move as many activities as possible outdoors! Take the smaller windows out of trains and buses – I couldn’t believe that every time I got on a train or a bus all or nearly all the windows were closed. Many more recent buildings apart from homes, and nearly all more recent public vehicles have no opening windows at all; I’ve always hated that.

    The stay-at-home order arrested the sharp rise in March/April, but it was the fine weather in Spring that saved the government debacle from becoming a megadeath catastrophe. This bodes very badly as winter conditions approach and more people spend more time indoors.

  67. Clark – It doesn’t seem that just _most_ contagion has occurred indoors. Can you think of anything notable where it happened in the open air? There was the idiotic Cheltenham Cup back in March, but even then, there was plenty of opportunity to spread C-19 in the crowded and more enclosed bar areas.

    The BLM protests were supposed to be very risky events, but mass protests, parties, beach events and large scale brawls (see Ogmore-by-Sea) produced no uptick at all. But indoor funerals, choir practice, church gatherings and so on have done so in a significant fashion.

    The only case I know of where a confirmed case of transmission took place outdoors was in China, following a protracted conversation between two neighbours:


    IIRC, that province – Henan – is one in which people typically talk extremely loudly, almost at a shout. This must have aided transmission, through air, which has been pretty obvious all along/.

    Yet our government in particular is still promoting the largely defunct notion that it’s all about hand sanitiser, washing hands regularly, contaminated surfaces and spraying down gathering areas with a “deep clean”.

    What is quite incredible is that our government is actively encouraging people – even bribing them with taxpayer money – to gather indoors now. Johnson is exhorting people to return to their offices *even when they can work from home*. The Chancellor is giving people money to dine inside restaurants. Takeaways? Deliveries? Nope. You have to eat inside. So much for “helping out” the catering industry, it HAS to be a narrow category of gathering inside.

    I wonder where all this leaves the denialists and conspiracy freaks. Their entire take – as inconsistent and risible as it was – had it that the governments (all of them!) were trying to frighten us, make us less sociable, keep us isolated, blah blah blah. Now the government is doing the precise opposite, but of course this won’t slow the denialists down one single jot. If there’s one consistent thing that is common behaviour among the denialists, it’s that nothing whatsoever will give them pause for thought.

  68. A comment on the Russian vaccine that I found interesting:


    Prof Keith Neal, Emeritus Professor of the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, University of Nottingham, said:

    – “There are a number of steps that need to be taken before a vaccine is used at a population level.

    – “These include Does it induce an immune response? and How safe is it? These are relatively easy to do as they only require small numbers.

    – “The next stage is Does it prevent the disease? This is always a problem if the disease is rare and for COVID-19 in Western Europe this has happened. As this happens large trials are required as so few people are acquiring infection. Hence, additional trials of vaccines may have, or may be soon, started in countries such as the USA, Brazil and South Africa where infrastructures to support vaccine trials already exist.

    – “Using the figures from http://www.worldometer.com an infection rate of 5000 per day equates to 1 per 1000 a month in Russia and this may be significantly under-reported. This will be higher in Moscow and probably health care workers. If 25,000 people were recruited in each arm then we would expect 25 cases in one month in the control group. Any figure less than 15 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine arm would be significant. Given the size of the Russian population, recruiting 50,000 people is well deliverable. Only 12,500 for two months gives the same results.

    – “It is not possible to know if the Russian vaccine has been shown to be effective without submission of scientific papers for analysis and then there may be problems on data quality.

    – “If the disease becomes seriously out of control there is a case for carrying out a phase 3 drug trial particularly including those at highest risk at the population level.”

  69. Glenn, I’m really not sure because there are many variables to account for, and we don’t know the proportions of who got infected where.

    Back in March detected infections were rising very fast, and according to the ICL model peaked at around 300,000 new infections per day. If a person remains infectious for ten days, let’s say that implied that around 1 or 2 percent of the population were infectious. If so, the chance was really quite high that if you entered an enclosed space such as a shop, it harboured sufficient virus particles that you could get infected.

    After the expected lag the death rate rose as we’d expect if the ICL model was roughly correct. The stay-at-home order certainly seemed to work; the death rate fell, again, after the expected lag.

    But by the time restrictions started to be lifted the situation had changed dramatically. Daily infections had plummeted to maybe 1 to 3 percent of their peak value. Most enclosed spaces would be free of virus particles, and the weather was nice so most social mingling started occurring outdoors. So there were two factors opposing cross-infection at outdoor gatherings; the lack of enclosure, and the generally low incidence rate.

    This doesn’t mean that outdoor cross-infection didn’t happen at all, but it could well mean that the contribution from any specific outdoor gathering was too small to distinguish.

  70. I don’t even attempt to understand the behaviour of this government beyond assuming that they haven’t a clue about anything vaguely technical, the only numbers they ever manipulate are prefixed with a currency symbol and even then they only compare them in search of the biggest. When was the last time a Member of the Cabinet had a takeaway? They probably haven’t seen a fish and chip shop from the outside in over a decade.

  71. Did Obama say a few words about how his Vice President Biden was awarded his Medal of Freedom while babbling on about Trump’s evils to American alleged democracy? Doubt it.

  72. Indeed, Clark. The whole business of masks is mired in politics too, complete failure to level with the public, and it seems quite a lack of understanding of people’s behaviour.

    Masks were not encouraged early on, because the government feared a lack of PPE would hamper health workers and so on. So they didn’t want them used up in the wrong places, now – of course – there is suspicion because they have reversed course.

    Why the conspiracy nuts think the state would want us to use masks for no good reason is quite a mystery – automatic face recognition is a lot more difficult while wearing one!

    The reluctance of WHO to acknowledge airbourne virus transmission is likely to come from the same muddled line of thinking. Poorer countries would be unable to provide masks for citizens, so best to pretend we don’t need them at all.

    The Welsh First Minister is – frankly – way out of his depth, together with the Welsh health minister. They tell us (in a cringingly slow and long-winded way) that masks give people a false sense of security. So it’s best not to have them, then everyone will be ultra-cautious. Well – not according to my observations. Masks are not compulsory in shops, and people are carrying on as if nothing was endangering us.

    Just heard on the radio about opening schools, with some official saying they have hand sanitiser, and they’re cleaning door-knobs etc., so they feel they’ve really got on top of it. About transmission through air – not a mention. I certainly agree about windows on trains etc. – they cannot be opened, which is absolutely crazy.

  73. Yes, most government reactions the world over have been shambolic. Government is broken; destroyed by failing to control neoliberal capitalism in time to prevent being dominated by it. Governments are demonstrating that they can’t even address a pandemic coherently, an inevitable eventuality for which they all claimed to have contingency plans, so they have absolutely no credibility to address the climate and ecological emergency. It wouldn’t even have become an emergency if governments were nominally competent; they’ve had thirty years warning, think how easy it would have been to address if they’d taken it seriously when warned.

    The world’s governments have broken the social contract by neglecting to protect people and planet; civil disobedience is the only effective power we have. It is now up to those who are prepared to take action, disobey and break the laws.

  74. I still have considerable sympathy for the denialists, because the corporate “news” media has been so complicit and corrupt for so long that they don’t know what to believe, so they seize upon a contrarian belief and gain a sense of security by congregating and backing each other up. It’s ironic that they accuse others of cognitive dissonance, because that’s exactly what scepticism of their denial provokes in themselves.

  75. The government told us lockdown was necessary to “flatten the curve” and prevent the NHS being overwhelmed.

    The NHS wasn’t overwhelmed so it must have worked.

    There is nothing new about pandemics, in 57 Asian Flu killed 20,000 people in Britain, in 68 Hong Kong flu another 30,000. The only thing new is that since then we seem to have become a nation of bedwetters.

  76. Past tense, Fred? Maybe 10% of the population have encountered this virus. Unless some fundamental change occurs, we’re only a fraction into this.

    Critical care isn’t currently overwhelmed, but it did reach capacity – only briefly, because this is a fast-acting infection – fast to spread, and fast to kill or recover.

    Yeah, we all wet the bed at the thought of restructuring the economy.

  77. So stay home, get your food online, don’t come into contact with others unless you have your biological hazard suit on.

    Just don’t try to make those who want to enjoy life and who understand that enjoying life always entails a little risk, even a lot of risk if you really enjoy yourself, be like you.

  78. UK daily infections hit their sharp rise and stay-at-home was imposed mid to late March, with just a few weeks until the dry, sunny weather. UK infections are currently at their mid-March level, with the whole of autumn and winter ahead of us. We still have no public quarantine arrangements; we never got numbers low enough to take that approach. New Zealand did:



    Russia gets much harsher winters. Maybe that’s why their government has licensed their vaccine before publishing Phase III test results.

  79. Fred, this isn’t a personal issue; it’s about the risk we inflict on others, far more than risks we take for ourselves. It’s a social issue, like the climate and ecological emergency; it’s about shared responsibility, but the ideological direction of society has been towards individualism for thirty years.

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